I want to win an Oscar.
I know I don't act or direct or even watch many movies. But I'd like to win the highest honour the film industry has for its practitioners. In fact, as I was watching the Oscars last night, my heart was breaking a little as I realized that I would never be on stage, crying in the spotlight as my hand fluttered over my heart, thanking the Academy. And my mother. And G-d.
It really wouldn't be enough to be nominated. I want to win one. I want to have people put the words "Oscar winner" before my name every time I'm being introduced. I want to change the rules slightly to include jeans and a t-shirt on the red carpet because I'm not that into dresses. But if I had to wear a dress, I'd wear a dress. You know, to pick up my award.
Does anyone else think like this while they're watching the awards? Become overwhelmingly sad that you'll never get to be an Oscar winner?
I feel this way every year when they announce the Nobel Prize. In every category. I don't even like chemistry and can't recite half the periodic table, but I'd love to win a Nobel Prize in chemistry. Or peace. I think I'm pretty peaceful. I'd love to win that one. Or literature. I mean, how cool would that be? Maybe even better than having "Oscar winner" before your name is "Nobel Prize winner." And since I have an MFA, it would make sense to win the literature one. More than physics perhaps.
The Fields medal. It would be nice to win one of those. Or a Pulitzer. Maybe for a novel.
The last time I really felt this strong a sense of loss over not being qualified to win a prize was during the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. I was lying on the floor, watching speed skaters and moaning about how I was never going to be good enough to compete in any sport and now I was old, OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLD, and my hair was greying and my knees were crap and I. Was. Never. Going. To. Be. An. Olympic. Athlete. Ever. Ever. Ever.
I brought this dilemma to my students and explained that I didn't even really want to play any Olympic sport. I just wanted to win and get the medal and have the American flag waving and the entire stadium singing for me. So we set up our own Olympics. And they were all sports where no one needed training in order to compete. Standing on one leg. Lying still on the floor. Synchronized drawing.
I competed in several events along with the children. And because a team was disqualified for inappropriate lyrics in a choreographed eating routine, I won the gold medal with my team. On the day of the award ceremony, my middle school head bought us medals and placed them around our neck in a reenactment of the real Olympic ceremony. Someone held a flag over our heads and the whole middle school sang the national anthem to me. It was just as fulfilling as if I had won a real Olympic medal. I swear. I really didn't need to be in the actual Olympics--it was really enough to be in our school Olympics. I wore my medal to school for weeks afterward and had the kids put "Olympic gold medalist" before my name. I still have this medal.
But now I'm not teaching anymore. And I want to win an Oscar. So how am I going to do this?